Malan beds in after early wobble


Dawid Malan came to the wicket on day one of the third Ashes Test with England 115 for 3 and while they weren’t in dire straits they were at risk of falling into a familiar pattern.

Alastair Cook (7) had been trapped leg before by an absolute seed from Mitchell Starc early on, James Vince (25) crept along steadily until he could no longer resist the urge to get out his wonky cover drive and predictably nick off.

Joe Root had won the toss and elected to bat anticipating another day of hard graft should he make another toss misstep and put Australia in.

Root himself was strangled down the leg side, beaten by the pace of Pat Cummins having built a start of 20 off just 23 balls.

Mark Stoneman had held the top order together but when he departed to a difficult DRS decision off a ripper of a ball from Starc England were 131 for 4 and it looked like they would unravel.

The decision to move Jonny Bairstow up to number six would bear fruit though as he and Malan steadied the ship and began to elevate the scoring rate to boot.

The pair became the first fifth wicket stand to put on more than 100 for England in Australia since Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell back in 2010.

England tipped the scales decidedly in their favour in the final session which started with the tourists on 175 for 4 and ended with Malan passing a hundred for the first time in Test cricket and the total on 305/4.

The left-handed Malan was put down late in the day by Cameron Bancroft at third slip but made the most of his life closing out the day.

Malan (110*) and Bairstow (75*) will know their task is far from over but for the first time in this Ashes series England look assured and even more than that deadly at the crease.

Pleasing to the tourists will be their ability to shut out Nathan Lyon today though many will feel that Root’s men should be more aggressive towards the off-spinner on a flat track.